Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound.
New favorite pose!
So my body's raw as hell these days. Been in mad yoga mode, practicing upwards of 2 hrs/day and really feeling the effects (read: crazy soreness) in my sinews. I found an advanced series that runs for 4 hrs on Tuesdays and Fridays, and it's kicking my ass. But don't get me wrong; it's good, great, life-giving, fer sure.
Anyway, so the knees are opening up after some hard runs and my shoulders are looser than they've been in some time, and this is due in part to my latest discovery, Kapotasana (or King Pigeon Pose). You've seen a variation on this one before in One-Legged King Pigeon Pose; that remains a favorite, especially after running for loosening the hips, but this one takes it a few steps deeper to open up the entire front side of the body along with massaging the thyroid/endocrine glands, opening up the heart and throat chakras, and deepening the backbend.
It's a little more ambitious than some, but very do-able; start with your Camel and open up your chest while compressing your spine, and you'll be warmed up for this. Yoga Journal does a better play-by-play than I do, so I'll just direct you there.
The more physiological stuff I've been reading lately really emphasizes the way that disease in the body comes from the stored tension and blocked energy we fail to release when we don't do a lot of these kinds of heart- and muscle-opening asanas. I've been focusing mentally in my practice lately on really thinking about softening and opening up; when you take the tension out of needing to perform a posture a certain way and let your muscles fall into it themselves, the asanas really do open up more easily.
I'm constantly amazed by the emotional and spiritual parallels these physical parts of the practice encourage. Same goes for tension and fear in the mind; if you just soften up and let it go instead of trying to force things, whether they are little daily arguments or big future quandaries or anything, life seems to take care of itself in a kind of cosmic cruise control.
Sorry. I'm really drinking the yogic Kool-Aid lately, huh? Oh well. Whatevs.
Stay tuned for reports on the killer Frida Kahlo show yesterday (holy fuckin great exhibit) and a few other odds and ends.